Josh Hamilton is already forcing his way into the lineup. It is still way way too early to tell if he is going to hit .400 with 70 home runs and 180 rbis this year, but to hear folks in Cincinnati, that’s where the current expectations sit. He’ll play as long as he is hitting–and right now he is. What happens when he slumps–no one knows for sure.
What we *do* know is that Edwin Encarnacion is getting to sit because of it. Encarnacion is supposed to be the Reds 3B of the future. He has to be given more of a chance to get out of his current slump if that is the case. He has far more ability and potential than others who are currently playing every day. It is hard to fathom why Narron feels free to screw with Encarnacion–even benching him over a lack of hustle on one play–when he lets Brandon Phillips and Ken Griffey and plenty of others get away with those things. It is apparent to casual observers that Narron has it in for Encarnacion–but it is not apparent why.
The fact is that Narron should be putting the best team that he can on the field every night. In a perfect world, we would actually know how good Hamilton really is, as opposed to supposing that he is on a bit of a hot streak and that he will cool off. Not knowing makes it harder.
Is Encarnacion really the least of those threats among the Reds every day players? I sure don’t think so.